The Irish Patients Association calls on the Minister for Health and all political Parties to urgently address the building surge of patients in need of care that is not Covid19 related.
It needs a similar group such as NPHET – Too many lives are at risk, Too many Patients suffering, too many anxious if they will get timely access to safe care.
Since mid-April we have quantified and highlighted the ever-increasing fall in attendances and admissions at our emergency departments vs the same period last year.
One doesn’t have to be a medical expert to read that this massive build-up of unmet need is a cause of serious patient and public health concern.
The HSE signed a major contract to buy in capacity from the private sector. A massive cost of €115 million per month for 3 months. We understand that this equates to almost 9 years of NTPF funding, specifically for private hospitals use for public patients.
Our Private sector sources advise, if the Private system was given €100 million, in a year our waiting lists would be almost zero.
While the deal was signed off on March 30th 2020, initially it was a contingency capacity for covid19 surge which thankfully hasn’t happened.
On May 1st the HSE announced that it was planning to maximise this resource in the interests of non-Covid 19 Patients. eg elective and outpatient waiting lists etc. .
While we welcome this development, we have concerns about its oversight.
With only 8 weeks left in the €316 million deal. A huge opportunity to flatten the curve for non covid19 public demand presents itself. At the same time to integrate care for private patients also in need of care.
Among our main concerns; there is no clear published guideline as to how clinical priorities are being set for the most urgent elective care or outpatient appointments, while left to local hospitals to link into the private sector how does we ensure consistency in their use of the private sector? Over sight of the delivery from this historic investment, must have meaningful multi-stakeholder involvement.
We understand that the HSE has a committee overseeing this utilisation of the private capacity however it is ‘bizarre’ that no private hospital representatives are in this group, nor consultant representatives, nor patient interests.
We must work together as ‘equal’ stakeholders, to deliver needed care; that for many, in so many ways , can't wait !